Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy New Year!

Let's hope that 2019 is better than 2018! 

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Trailers From Hell - HUMONGOUS (1982)

I've come to terms with my enjoyment of this cracked Canadian horror film and I'm glad to note that I'm not alone. 

Thursday, December 27, 2018

The Bloody Pit #78 - HELL DRIVERS (1957)

Here's a post-Christmas treat!

Artist Mark Maddox has had a very busy year. He remains in high demand for book and magazine covers along with all his other work. 2018 saw him finally branch out into Blu-Ray art, doing the spectacular rendering of Christopher Lee for the cover of Scream Factory's new disc of DRACULA - PRINCE OF DARKNESS (1966). Hopefully the strong, positive response to that piece will get him the opportunity to do more in that vein and soon. Fingers crossed.

But, because Mark has been so busy, he and I haven't had the chance to record a show together all year - until now! HELL DRIVERS (1957) was a film I was totally unaware of before Mr. Maddox started talking about it a few months ago. I don't know how I missed it considering the talented people involved. There is a host of future British television and film stars packed into this tight little drama including a Doctor Who, a James Bond and at least two other soon-to-be small screen espionage agents. Oh! And the great Herbert Lom as an Italian expatriate working in England and romancing the lovely Peggy Cummins. Writer/director Cy Endfield shows his skill at crafting a strong script with believable characters but also knows how to stage exciting action scenes. We watch huge trucks barreling down roads that are clearly too small for that type of traffic while at the same time the complicated personal relationships become more deadly as well. But the film offers more than just bar fights and lustful quandaries. Just why would a company run these young drivers so hard?

As is the norm for a conversation between Mark and I, there comes a point where we go off track. In fact we went so far off track that it became difficult to know just how long we had been roaming around talking about something other than HELL DRIVERS! We drift into a discussion of toys including fan-made collectables, then move on to the British 'Carry On' film series and film humor in general with a surprising revelation or two from Mark. There are at least a dozen other topics that we charge right into with little reasonable concern for the fact that you folks might eventually be listening to us ramble. Sorry about that.

Oh! It turns out that this film is available to stream on Amazon Prime! The link is below. 

If you have any comments or if you'd like to correct either of us please write the show at where we'll be thrilled to answer all questions. Thank you for listening and we'll talk to you again soon.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

The Emmy Awards Tribute to Star Trek

Monday, December 24, 2018

Vintage Christmas Cards

Some are sweet, some are crazy but of them all say Have a Happy Holiday! 

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Superman Christmas Images

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Non-Traditional Christmas Song - Be A Santa!

Written as part of the not-so-successful Broadway play Subways Are For Sleeping, this only recently came to my attention. I like it! 

Friday, December 21, 2018

Non-Traditional Christmas Film - BATMAN RETURNS (1992)

At this time of year film fans inevitably turn to discussions of favorite Christmas or holiday themed movies. For a long while now it has become the determination of a large subset of 'fans' to smugly reduce all talk down to the non-traditional choice of DIE HARD (1988). This was cute a decade ago but it has since become tiresome and a sure indicator of the lack of thought put into making this choice. Just because a film takes place during December does not make it a Christmas movie. One day soon any hipster loudly proclaiming DIE HARD as their favorite Christmas film will be dragged into the nearest yard and beaten with tree limbs. Their bleeding corpse will be decorated with festive ornaments as a warning to all that the cleverness of this stance is long dead.

But what of other, less well known, Christmas cinema? Perhaps a film that will not result in everyone listening to you pontificate at the Holiday party wishing to strangle you.

Well, one of my favorites non-traditional Christmas movies is Tim Burton's BATMAN RETURNS (1992). Not as well remembered or as well-regarded as the 1989 BATMAN film I've always preferred the second bite at the apple for a number of reasons. One of those is it's December setting with the time of year woven into the story intricately. There is snow in the air, snow on the ground and Burton went out of his way to be able to see the actor's breath in the chilly weather to add detail. You really feel that the events take place in winter adding a certain quality of realism to the mad proceedings. So many of the non-traditional Christmas movies that people talk about merely take place at the festive time of year instead of actually folding the events surrounding the holiday into their storyline. Batman Returns is constantly referencing the time of year and, although December 25th only happens at the very end, everything in the movie feels as if we are slowly advancing toward that date with terrible events and momentous occasions cascading toward the eventual climax.

The movie is layered, nearly dripping with Christmas imagery in almost every scene. Christmas parties, Christmas trees, mistletoe, gifts and decorations are scattered throughout the story giving reason for some of the crazier things that happen. The reoccurring scene of the nightly lighting of Gotham's huge Christmas tree becomes a central element of the plot giving the villains a time and place to attack for maximum attention. You'd think after the second deadly night of violence at the lighting ceremony the mayor would have shut that thing down! But the season always seems to cloud our judgment, making even the denizens of the crime-riddled Gotham hold out hope for an optimistic future. Of course, this is a Burton Batman film so bleakness is baked into this bat-shaped Christmas cookie. But by setting the story in December the film finds a way to offer a possible light to walk toward with hope still a risky choice but better than Bruce Wayne's despair. He can wish the world a Merry Christmas in the final scene even after failing to save Selina Kyle from her worst desires. How's that for an upbeat Christmas message?

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

New Christmas Short Story from Steve Sullivan!

If you've not been following Steve Sullivan's Dr. Cushing novel over on his website then you have been missing out! A combination of ingredients from the Universal Horror classics with more than a dash of Hammer Horror spice added the book is a great Monster Kid blend of creeps, thrills and adventure. And now the entire thing is complete so you don't have to wait week to week for the chapter to come out! Check it out from the beginning HERE!

Or you can start with what is becoming an annual thing for the world Sullivan has created - a monster charged Christmas tale! "A Shadow Over Christmastime" has just been posted on his site with a new one due before the 25th! Oh! And here's a LINK to the previous Cushing Christmas Tale too! 
Happy reading and Merry Christmas! 

Monday, December 17, 2018

Marvel Comics Merry Christmas

Saturday, December 15, 2018

What I Watched in November

It may seems strange for me to say this, as I'm pretty upfront about my love of comic books, but I've never read a single issue of a Venom series. I've never even read an issue with the character guest-starring. I know where the black alien symbiotic life-form comes from because I was an avid Marvel fan in 1984-85 and read Secret Wars like the good little zombie I was. I know that at some point the alien grafted itself onto a new host (post Peter Parker) and was first a major villain but (as the character became popular) was turned into a hero. Of sorts. All of this happened in the 1990's when I was taking a long sabbatical from Marvel because I was tired of the latest X-Men spin-off/reboot/new direction/whatever sucking all the oxygen out of the entire line. So, I come to this new film with only the bad memory of SPIDER MAN 3 (2007) coloring my thoughts of what the character could be. This film had to be better than that tragic mess, right? Well........

VENOM (2018) is a stand alone off-shoot of the Sony Spider Man films. It doesn't seem to reference the other films in any way so it can be seen as a form of reboot, I suppose. I had some hopes for this to be a fun film based solely on the cast. I think Tom Hardy is a fantastic talent with natural screen charisma and Michelle Williams has never seemed less than letter perfect in any role she attempts. But, sadly, this film wastes them and their impressive efforts on a script that just cannot be bothered to generate much interest. The entire things feels artificial from the relationships, the plot and even the underlying ideas. Nothing seems to  fit together properly giving the story a disjointed feeling. It might as well be cobbled together from random issues of the Venom comic book for all the sense it makes and maybe it was. It can't even manage to strike a solid tone for it's ending leaving the entire thing feeling more like a mess than it had to, really. In the end the film is bland and forgettable. If they make a sequel there is nowhere to go but up from this flat starting point.  

OVERLORD (2018) should have been much better than it is. The scenario reads like either a first person shooter video game or the most perfect SF tinged WWII film of all time. Just before the D-Day invasion of Normandy a squad of American soldiers parachute into occupied France to destroy a German communications jamming station. Almost immediately the group is reduced to a handful of survivors but they continue to their objective enlisting a local young woman's aid. Once in the country town the soldiers learn that the French citizens have been systematically taken into the castle headquarters for hideous human experimentation. Since the target is in the same place they decide to destroy both problems with one attack but are well aware that their small numbers mean there is little chance of survival. Everything is in place for a rousing action film with mad scientist created monsters in a WWII setting. Cool! But then the script falters.

At a certain point our main character leaves the cottage in which the soldiers are hiding for less than clear reasons. And then he manages to stumble, fart and fall inside the castle with none of the German troops ever spotting him. He gets into the deepest areas of the laboratory, sees the important information and gets out of this highly guarded place without a single person laying eyes on him. Once. This sequence breaks the movie for me. I kind of enjoyed the third act because it's a well played action set-piece but this pathetic way of getting the American characters the necessary intel is just terrible screenwriting. I wasn't bothered by the unhistorical mixed race American army of the 1940's in the film because we're here to see Nazi monsters get splattered. But this idiotic plotting disaster is just too much. The whole sequence needed to rewritten. Oh well.


GHOSTKEEPER (1981) - 6 
VENOM (2018) - 4 
MAD DOCTOR OF BLOOD ISLAND (1964) - 4 (rewatch) 
THE NANNY (1965) - 7 
ABSOLUTE QUIET (1936) - 7 
SCHIZOID (1980) - 5 (not bad sleazy thriller) 
OVERLORD (2018) - 6 
PRISONER OF THE LOST UNIVERSE (1983) - 3 (Riftrax version - 7) 
RAW FORCE (1982) - 3 (inept but entertaining for all the wrong reasons) 
SUMMER OF '84 (2018) - 9 
NIGHT OF TERROR (1933) - 6 
CHRISTMAS EVIL (1980) - 8 (rewatch) 

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Universal Monsters Christmas Images

Monday, December 10, 2018

The Bloody Pit #77 - CHRISTMAS EVIL (1980)

For the fourth year in a row Troy Guinn, John Hudson and I dig into a festive themed film that fits the odd nature of this podcast. Holiday Horrors 2018 brings us to the often overlooked classic CHRISTMAS EVIL (1980). Written and directed by Lewis Jackson the film is available in a fine Blu-Ray release that shines a light on the a film that really should be better known. Kind of a cross between A Charlie Brown Christmas Special and Polanski's REPULSION it relates the sad tale of a man overly preoccupied with the holiday but seemingly unable reconcile himself to the realities of incorporating it into an adult life. Having spent years working for a toy manufacturing company he has wrapped himself in the warm message of December the 25th year round. But, this year, he begins to feel his sense of the season slipping away at the same time that his obsessive preoccupation with Christmas ramps up as the holiday approaches. The details of what might be real life and what could be fantasy become intertwined and often impossible to tease apart as our main character starts to act out his love of Christmas and his anger at the uncaring people that pervert it for selfish ends.

We discuss the film's production with a sleigh full of details straight from the Blu-Ray's three commentary tracks. The film's achievements and failings come under the microscope with each of us noting the moments that we love and the points we felt could have been better presented. We remark on the amazing cast of New York acting talent onscreen as well as a surprising connection to a certain New Jersey musical legend as well. The film's beautiful, glowing cinematography is discussed and the movie's fundamental similarity to another, much more famous New York set drama of the 1970's is noted. Anytime a way can be found to compare Travis Bickle to the Grinch you know you've hit on a supremely odd confluence of ideas!

So, join us for an accordion spiced Christmas episode with a few comedic surprises along the way. We rattle on a quite a while but we hope this year end show will put a smile on the faces of even the most curmudgeonly of the Christmas naysayers out there. The show can be reached at or over on Facebook where the Bloody Pit's page resides. Thanks for listening and have a Happy Holiday, whatever you might be celebrating. 

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Sunday, December 09, 2018

Batman Christmas Images!


Probably because as a kid I was always hoping to get superhero toys for Christmas I associate the holiday with comic books. Happily, the comics oblige with all kinds of Holiday tales!